Knights trounce Orions to stay No. 1

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Knights trounce Orions to stay No. 1

The Seoul SK Knights maintained their top spot in the Korean Basketball League with an 80-68 home victory over the Goyang Orions yesterday.

In the first game of the second half of the season at Jamsil Students’ Gymmasium in Seoul, rookie Choi Boo-kyung recorded 23 points and nine rebounds and Aaron Haynes added 18 points to help the Knights extend their unbroken winning streak to five games.

Star guard Kim Sun-hyung scored 11 points while forward Park Sang-o helped with eight as the team improved its record to 14 wins and four losses this season.

The Knights returned from a two-week break, during which they were knocked out in the quarterfinal of the KB Pro-Am Basketball Championship.

The nine-day championship was introduced this year to keep fans’ glued to the league, but many of the 10 KBL teams used it as a chance to rest their key members and rely instead on benchwarmers.

The Wonju Dongbu Promy beat the Seoul outfit 85-72 in the pro-am event before suffering a 74-68 loss to Sangmu in the semifinal bout.

Sangmu, the military-managed team, won the inaugural event with a 65-61 victory over the Incheon ET Land Elephants on Thursday.

Sangmu was the only amateur team left as the other seven - all college teams - failed to advance to the quarterfinals.

It was considered a strong contender as it has many of the league’s strongest players, for whom it is a way of serving their compulsory military service.

Another Seoul franchise, the Samsung Thunders, also got off to a good start yesterday, edging the Anyang Korea Ginseng Corporation 67-65 in Anyang, Gyeonggi.

Lee Jung-seok led the Thunders with 13 points, six assists and six rebounds.

With the victory, the Thunders snapped a long losing streak against Anyang, the defending champions.

Both teams have 10 victories and nine losses each this season.

The Ulsan Mobis Phoebus beat the Changwon LG Sakers 84-64 later in the day to tie the Knights for first place.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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